Even as Comporium expands its gigabit broadband network to more than 15,000 homes in and around Rock Hill, S.C., the company is hopeful that its high-speed presence will help bolster business development and the local economy in the region.
Comporium Communications has launched what it expects to be a six-month effort to upgrade its fiber optic infrastructure around Rock Hill and extend its Zipstream gigabit service to residential neighborhoods in York and Lancaster counties, where it already has built out fiber to buildings and homes. The incumbent telco launched Zipstream to a handful of downtown businesses in June, and has since announced the expansion to five additional Rock Hill business parks. (See Gigabit Speeds Come to Rock Hill.)
"We'll be beefing up the rings those neighborhoods are on -- that's why it's a six-month phase out," says Matt Dosch, Comporium's executive vice president of customer operations and external affairs. The company will offer residents Zipstream connections for $99 per month in addition to bundles of voice, video and home security services, he says.
But Comporium's ultimate goal is to help transform the local economy and attract new business with its all-fiber network and gigabit services, Dosch says, noting that the company spent months visiting cities like Chattanooga and studying the economic impact of gigabit deployments by entities such as EPB Fiber Optics , a division of Chattanooga's local utility that is currently seeking approval to expand its network. (See Muni Utilities Take Gigabit Fight to FCC.)
"Our rollout remains tied to a very specific economic development plan," he says, adding that Comporium learned in its observation of other gigabit cities that small technology entrepreneurs are attracted to communities where affordable gigabit services are available.
Economic development in Rock Hill centers primarily around Knowledge Park, a two-year-old, multimillion dollar effort to transform the 23-acre site of a former textile manufacturing facility that sits between downtown Rock Hill and nearby Winthrop University into a business and technology development center. Components such as Comporium's gigabit network are central to that effort, says David Lawrence, Knowledge Park development manager for the City of Rock Hill.
"We're investing in talent and infrastructure, and offering people affordable and cool spaces. It can't be Knowledge Park with slow Internet and people who can't do knowledge economy jobs," Lawrence says. "Comporium has moved really quickly, so it's another competitive advantage and another way for us to walk the talk."
— Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Utility Communications/IoT, Light Reading